New York Workers' Compensation is an intricate area of law that is often subject to a number of misconceptions. This site is intended to help readers seeking clarification on the topic of NY Workers' Comp. Whether you are an injured worker lost amidst the complexities of Workers' Comp, a doctor who is not sure how to properly handle a Workers' Comp patient's file, or simply a curious New Yorker who worries about what would happen if you were ever injured on the job, I hope that the content of this site will deliver the answers you seek, even to questions you didn't know to ask.

It is my pleasure to welcome you into the world of New York Workers' Compensation. I hope you enjoy your visit, spread the word, and come back soon.

Best regards,

Camila P. Medici, Esq.

Friday, February 5, 2016

How Do I Calculate My Average Weekly Wage?

Your Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is an important factor in the value of your workers’ compensation claim, because your wage benefits will be highly dependent on how much you made per week before taxes while working the year prior to the accident.  It is the basis for all monetary calculations the workers’ compensation board will make throughout your case.  Making sure your AWW is accurately calculated  from the beginning of your case can mean the difference between hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your pocket over the course of your claim.  There are several different methods for calculating an AWW.  These methods, which are usually decided upon by the Judge but argued by your lawyer, depend heavily on how long you held the job you were in at the time of the accident.

Employed in the same industry, for a full year, 5 days per week

If you held pretty much the same job, 5 days per week, for a full year your AWW is calculated using the “260 multiplier.”  First, take your total wage for the year prior to the injury and divide that number by the actual number of days you worked to get your “daily wage.”  Then, take your daily wage and multiply it by 260 (which is the average number of days per year worked by a 5-day per week worker).  Then, divide that amount by 52 to get your “Average Weekly Wage.”
For instance, let’s say you made $40,000 in the year before your accident and you worked 248 days.  Your average weekly wage calculation would look like this:
$40,000 ÷ 248 = $161.29; then $161.29 X 260 = $41,935.48; then $41,935.48 ÷ 52 = $806.45
So, your average weekly wage using the 260 multiplier would be $806.45

Not employed in the same industry for substantially a whole year

If you only worked part of the year, or if your job changed substantially halfway through the year, it is important to figure out what you actual average wage was in the job you held at the time you were injured.  In order to do that your employer may be asked to provide the payroll information for a “similar worker” who has worked the whole year, so that the Workers’ Compensation Board can see what your AWW would be if you had worked that position for a full year.  In that situation the same calculation as above would be applied, but using the similar workers’ wages instead of yours.  That means your employer would have to supply the Carrier with a similar worker's payroll.  If none existed the next step would be to look at the industry standard.

Seasonal or Intermittent Workers

If you hold a job in which you are only employed for part of the year, in road construction or landscaping, the court may apply a “200 multiplier” to determine your AWW.  So, if you made $40,000 in the year before your accident, but you only work April-November (160 days), your average weekly wage calculation would look like this:
$40,000 ÷ 160=$250; then $250 X 200=$50,000; then $50,000 ÷ 52= $961.54
So you’re average weekly wage in this scenario, using the 200 multiplier would be $961.54

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

If I Get Injured At A Company Holiday Party, Will That Be Covered By Workers' Comp?

The main question to ask is: did your employer sponsor the event?  If the answer is yes, then most likely it will be covered by comp.  The only tricky part could be the element of intoxication, because most people drink at holiday parties, and intoxication means you most likely don't have a comp claim.  But if you were sober and the company sponsored the event and you were injured at the event then yes, you probably have a comp claim.  Just remember that you must go to the doctor and have medical evidence that this injury happened at a work event, you must notify your employer, and you must file a comp claim (by filling out and submitting a C-3 form) with the workers' compensation board in order to start the process. 

How Do Child Support Obligations Affect Workers' Compensation Benefits?

It's very simple: in the eyes of the law your child comes first.  Hopefully that is also true in your own eyes, but, legally, it will definitely be true.  It does not matter that the findings of child support were made by a different judge in a different court of law, if you owe monies (arrears) then a lien can be placed against your workers' compensation wage benefits.  However, it is understandable that you may be worried about being able to afford the amount of money you were directed to pay in child support now that you are out of work and receiving workers' compensation.  If you feel you can no longer afford the same amount of child support because you are out on comp, you should talk to your family lawyer and go back to the court that directed the child support to see if they can lower the amount based on your newfound financial status and inability to work to earn more money.  It is possible that they will adjust the amount until you are able to return to work.